The Kumeyaay Today

Today, many Kumeyaay live on traditional lands. There are 17 federally recognized Kumeyaay reservations. The reservations are located in present-day California and Mexico. Some of these reservations include Barona, Campo, Jamul, La Huerta, Mesa Grande, San Pasqual, and Viejas.

The Kumeyaay work hard to preserve their culture. They continue to make pottery and baskets. Basket-making methods are passed down from tribal elders. Today, Kumeyaay coiled baskets are considered some of the finest in the world.

Bird songs still serve an important purpose in Kumeyaay culture. These songs are performed at funerals, memorials, and certain ceremonies. When performing, the singers do not use drums. Instead, they use traditional rattles filled with native palm seed. Sadly, many songs have been lost throughout the years. This makes the remaining bird songs sacred.

To preserve and pass on tribal knowledge, the Kumeyaay have created a non-profit organization. provides the public with correct information about tribal history and culture. The Web site also serves to unite the bands within the Kumeyaay tribe.

Kumeyaay material provided courtesy of ABDO Publishing Company.  Author Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh, JD.  Illustrations by David Kanietakeron Fadden